CELTIC MYTHOLOGY•More localized unlikeGreek, Roman and Egyptianmyths•With 400 Celtic gods andgoddesses (many arerecognized by small cults)
DIVISIONS OF CELTIC MYTHOLOGY:1.Gaulish mythology2.Irish Mythology3.Scottish Mythology
GAULA vast area of Europe whereFrance, Belgium, Switzerland and some surroundingareas are now located
Gaulish Mythology• Begins as an early Celtic Mythology• Eventually merges with Roman polytheism• One of the areas of French Mythology• Gauls did not write about their own religion, so much of what is known about their mythology is found in Latin works from Roman authors.
Irish Mythology• Was a part of the religion of the Irish before Christianity took hold• Was later preserved to some extent in storytelling
Divisions of Irish Mythology1.Mythological Cycle2.Ulster Cycle3.Fenian Cycle4.Historical Cycles
1. Mythological Cycle• Least intact• Describes the state of Irish mythology• Consists of numerous prose tales and poems found in medieval manuscripts: 1. Lebor Gabala Erenn 2. Annals of the Four Masters 3. Seathrun Ceitinn’s History of Ireland
2. Ulster Cycle• Takes place as Christianity is taking hold in Ireland• Describes heroes rather than gods and goddesses• Deals with the lives of Conchobar mac Nessa, king of Ulster, the great hero Cuchulainn, and of their friends, lovers and enemies• Stories are written mainly in prose• Centerpiece is TAIN BO CUAILNGE (Cattle Raid of Cooley)
3. Fenian Cycle• A body of prose and verse centering on the exploits of the mythical hero Fionn mac Cumhaill and his warriors, the Fianna• Also known as the Fianna Cycle, Fionn Cycle, Finn Cycle and Ossianic Cycle
4. Historical Cycles• Also known as the Cycles of Kings• A body of Old and Middle Irish literature• Contain stories of the legendary kings of Ireland
Court Poets or Medieval Irish Bards• Record the history of the family and the genealogy of the king they served• Did in poems that blended the mythological and the historical to a greater or lesser degree• Resulted to the Historical Cycles
Greatest Glory of the Cycle: Buile Shuibhne(The Frenzy of Sweeney) 12th century
Scottish Origins• Several were created during the Historical Period• One was adapted from the 10th century Latin life of St. Cathroe of Metz
Hebridian Myths and Legends 1. Water spirits • Kelpies • Blue Men of the Minch • Seonaidh • Merpeople • Water Monsters 2. Wulvers 3. Will-o-the-Wisp 4. Fairies 5. Changeling
Kelpies• Occupy several lochs• In the form of a horse• Takes people for food
Blue Men of the Minch• Also known as storm kelpies• Occupy the stretch of water between Lewis and Mainland Scotland• Looks for sailors to drown and stricken boats to sink
Seonaidh• A water spirit who had to be offered ale
Merpeople • Creature of half man and half fish • Claimed that a mermaid’s grave is in Benbecula • Accounts stated that the upper part of the creature was the size of an infant, while the bottom was like a salmon.
Loch Monsters• Resembles a capsized boat• Has been reported swimming for one and a half centuries• Locals say lambs were once offered annually to the creature.
Will-o-the-wisp• Have been reported in the areas of Sandwick• Lights that float around the area normally announce approaching death of a local• Some say that light belongs to an Irish merchant who was robbed and murdered on the island.
Fairies• Beautiful winged creatures• Known to have magical powers
Wulvers • Descendants of werewolves • Promised to rise if their graves were disturbed
Changeling• Typically described as being the offspring of a fairy, troll elf or other legendary creature that has been secretly left in the place of a human child• Sometimes the term is also used to refer to the child who was taken.
Fir Bolg• First established kingship and a system of justice in Ireland• Represent a genuine historical people
Tuatha De Danaan• “Peoples of the Goddess Danu”• Defeated the Fir Bolg King, Eochaid mac Eirc, in the First Battle of Magh Tuiredh
Dindshenchas• Another source of mythological tradition• “Lore of places”• Poems and prose tales recounting traditions of the origins of place- names and events and personages associated with those places
Conaire Mor• “The Great Son”• Son of Eterscel, the High King of Ireland• Reign is long and peaceful• Belonged to the legendary Clanna Dedad, the legendary royal family of the Erainn• Last king in the direct male line from Conaire Mor was Alexander III of